Monday, May 22, 2017

Helene Stapinski

Helene Stapinski began her career at her hometown newspaper, The Jersey Journal. She is the author of the memoirs Five-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History and Baby Plays Around: A Love Affair, with Music. Her essays have appeared in several anthologies, most recently, Drinking Diaries: Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up. Stapinski has also written extensively for The New York Times, for Travel & Leisure, Food & Wine, Salon, Real Simple, New York magazine and dozens of other newspapers, magazines and blogs. She’s been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, The Today Show and as a performer with The Moth main stage.

Stapinski's new book is Murder In Matera: A True Story of Passion, Family, and Forgiveness in Southern Italy.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I'm about a quarter of the way through The Sellout by Paul Beatty, a social satire about an African American man's unorthodox upbringing and his appeal before the Supreme Court after his attempt to reintroduce slavery to a Los Angeles neighborhood.

The book is simultaneously incredibly sad and laugh out loud funny, no easy feat. I have a problem with self-serious, pretentious writers who are afraid -- or maybe are just incapable -- of making people laugh. You can tell a moving story and still manage to entertain your reader. Beatty, so far, has managed to tell a painful, contemporary tale, while using wicked, biting humor. His social commentary and riffs come so fast and furiously that I can only read a chapter at a time. It makes my head spin. But in a good way. My first book was described as "heartbreaking and hilarious," which is what I'm usually going for in my own writing. So I'm loving The Sellout.
Visit Helene Stapinski's website.

--Marshal Zeringue